Parisian-style townhouses, a grand seafront promenade, spacious beaches and an unfair share of Michelin-starred restaurants make San Sebastian one of Spain’s most enticing cities.
Whether you’re planning a surfing break centred on Playa de Zurriola or looking to fuel your wandering spirit with an endless supply of pintxos – the Basque take on tapas – there’s so much to enjoy here. From art-themed boutiques in the centre to country retreats high above the city, these are our picks for a stay at a hotel San Sebastian will always remind you of – bookable on Culture Trip.
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Opened in 1876, this classic Belle Epoque hotel looks out to Santa Clara island from San Sebastian’s grand seafront promenade. Rooms feature a soothing palette, antique furniture, marble bathrooms and most also have beach-view balconies – one of the Penthouse Suites also has its own jacuzzi. On-site Swing Bar and Terrace offers classic cocktails, salads, burgers and pizzas – and the Brasserie Mari Gallant showcases top Basque produce in dishes such as charcoal-grilled txuleta with deluxe potatoes.
As the name suggests, art is the dominant theme at this elegant boutique, which occupies a late 19th-century, Hausmann-esque mansion behind Ondarreta Beach. Period-themed rooms feature reproductions of works by Picasso, Renoir, Dali and Miro above dark-wood headboards, wooden ceiling fans and parquet floors – many also have Juliet balconies with bay views. Breakfast is available for a daily fee and bikes can be hired from reception for a pleasant 15-minute ride to the Old Town.
This 19th-century, British-style mansion is at the centre of grounds by Pierre Ducasse, the French designer responsible for the gardens of San Sebastian’s Royal Palace. The first or second-floor deluxe rooms boast garden views through floor-to-ceiling windows, antique writing desks and big marble bathrooms. Soak up the tranquillity of your surroundings from the terrace of the Eguzki Soro Bar – in which breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks are served.
Apartments at this ultra-modern self-catering complex sleep up to six guests – and a baby. All feature private terraces overlooking the lush Basque countryside, fully equipped kitchens, separate living rooms and a smart, minimalist decor that favours blues, greys and black. Communal areas comprise a canteen-style lounge with a giant plasma TV, zen garden and a concierge service that can arrange tickets, dry cleaning and restaurant bookings for you. The cherry on top of the hotel? San Sebastian centre is just a 15-minute drive or taxi ride away.
A top choice for city-centre budget accommodation, this cosy guesthouse offers 10 ensuite double rooms with exposed stone walls, French windows and polished hardwood floors – and some are available with an extra single bed. There are no on-site facilities, but the owners provide annotated maps as well as excellent restaurant and sightseeing recommendations. Discounted parking is available nearby and the Old Town and Concha Beach are both a 10-minute walk away – via lively Calle Urbieta.
Book a stay at this four-star hotel in San Sebastian and you’ll have access to a rooftop terrace with a solarium and a two-person hot tub. Other on-site add-ons comprise a gym, a glass-walled lobby bar with high ceilings and leather armchairs, and Restaurante Enea – in which a daily menu showcases market-fresh ingredients. Suites, double and family rooms feature pinewood floors and walls, street views and 2.1m-long (6.9ft) beds designed for athletes. Secure parking is also available on-site.
Carefully renovated by two brothers from the Basque village of Gernika, this early-20th-century manor house sits high on Mount Ulia, 3.5km (2.1mi) from San Sebastian. Surrounded by gardens in which an old Basque pelota court lies hidden, rooms feature original stone walls and carved wood panelling alongside glassed-in bathrooms and freestanding, city-view bathtubs. Book the Ulia Romantica suite and you’ll also have a black marble Japanese bath to soak in before sitting out on the terrace overlooking San Sebastian.
This is a rewrite of an article originally by Lena Blos.
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
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